Monday, August 29, 2022

180+ Attended 2022 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference; MayFly Award Winners Recognized

This article first appeared in the
August Catalyst newsletter from the Butler County-based Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition--  

Once again, the Pennsylvania Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference was a great success! Held at the Ramada Inn at State College June 22-23, this year’s event was a hybrid conference and had nearly record turnout. 

Most of the 150-ish attendees chose to show up in person at State College, but there were also about 30 virtual attendees. 

Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition participant Cliff Denholm serves on the planning committee and attended the event, which this year had a theme of “New Opportunities on the Horizon.” 

As usual, there were a variety of great presentations with topics ranging from the new federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to solar development on abandoned mine lands to water treatment of AMD. 

Miranda Crostley from the Jennings Environmental Education Center gave an excellent presentation called “Creating Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences and Real-world Inquiry using AMD and Treatment Systems as Living Labs”.

Another interesting presentation, by Scott McGill, was about beaver! Beaver once numbered in the hundreds of millions across North America, were nearly extirpated in the late 1890’s, but have recently seen their numbers increase in many regions across North America. 

The presentation discussed how beaver were long regarded as a nuisance species but their role as ecosystem engineers has only recently been promoted and recognized. 

Presentation information included how beaver dams and the water they store provide important ecosystem services, including increased groundwater recharge, floodplain reconnection, significant reductions in peak flow discharges, enhanced wildlife habitat, nutrient processing, sediment storage, fire breaks, and wetland creation.

Due to uncertainties related to COVID, a field tour was not planned; however, several “virtual” video tours were presented during the event. 

Mayfly Awards

Two Mayfly Awards were given this year. The Mayfly Award winners are chosen by the committee and awarded to individuals who have dedicated much of their life to improving streams impacted by AMD. 

The award recognizes individuals who have dedicated a lifetime of knowledge and expertise to the reclamation of abandoned mines in Pennsylvania. The mayfly was selected as the symbol for this award because its presence in a stream signifies clean water. 

The tradition of giving out the “Mayfly Award” started with the 2007 Conference and the list of Awardees has grown to represent a group of distinguished individuals.  [Read more here about previous winners.]

This year, two Mayfly awards were given. One went to Donna Wagner, formerly of the PA DEP and project advisor to a number of SRWC and Stream Restoration Incorporated projects. 

The second award was presented to Tim Ference from the Friends of the Nescopeck.  [Video of Award Presentation To Tim Ference.]


Many thanks to conference sponsors, which included the Pennsylvania DEP, Appalachian Region Independent Power Producers Association, Tetra Tech, Solar Landscape, Earth Conservancy, New Jersey Resources Clean Energy Ventures, BEG Group, Pagnotti Enterprises, and Kleinfelder, Inc. 

For more information on programs, projects, upcoming events and how you can get involved, visit the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition website.  Follow them on FacebookClick Here to sign up to sign up for regular updates.

The Butler County-based Coalition was established in 1994 to restore land, water and wildlife resources in the Slippery Rock Watershed.

(Photos: Mayfly Award winners Tim Ference, Robert Hughes, Executive Director of the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation and Donna Wagner.)

(Reprinted from the August Catalyst newsletter from the Butler County-based Slippery Rock Watershed CoalitionClick Here to sign up for your own copy.)

Related Article:

-- Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition Partners With Westminster College H.S. Science Camp; Completes Blacks Creek Maintenance Pond

[Posted: August 29, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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